Student and Graduate Publishing

European MBA Programmes Open Opportunities

Monday, 14 October 2013 13:51

Doing an MBA in Europe is a great way to learn about a new business culture and widen your network and career opportunities. The continent is home to several of the world’s top business schools, the programmes of which are consistently counted among the world’s best in different MBA rankings.

Though the US is the traditional home of the MBA, many European schools have stolen a march on their US counterparts when it comes to innovative programmes, tie-ups with industry and attracting an international class cohort.

IE Business School is one to look out for. Based in Madrid and ranked 8th in the world according to the Financial Times, it is particularly strong on entrepreneurship and consulting. Recent alumni include the founders of CityDeal (the Spanish version of Groupon, which was later acquired by the US site) and, a language learning site with 25 million users.

Despite the gloomy headlines about Spain’s unemployment rate, an MBA degree from a top business school there still opens doors to great jobs in the country and beyond. IESE Business School in Barcelona, ranked first in the world for its MBA programme by The Economist this year, welcomed 48 firms to its campus recently for a recruitment event. The school is holding another one soon as there wasn’t enough space for the companies that wanted to attend. IESE has strong links with firms including JP Morgan, Google and Facebook for internships and MBA-level hiring.

If you’re interested in the luxury goods sector then Italy and France are great locations as they’re home to the global headquarters of firms from Chanel to Versace. SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan is the only Italian business school to make the Financial Times global top 100, placing 42nd overall.

SDA Bocconi offers a Luxury Business Management Track within its full-time MBA. The 20 students on the luxury track spend their second semester in Rome, where the label Bulgari’s headquarters serve as a classroom.  Alumni of SDA Bocconi include duo Moritz Offeney and Marco Reite, co-founders of high fashion label Scarosso, which is distributed exclusively online.

In Paris, both HEC Paris (the country’s top business Grande Ecole) and ESSEC offer specialized luxury-focused MBA programmes, or tracks.

Europe also has a thriving technology sector. The “Silicon Alps” region which straddles France and Switzerland is home to several prestigious business schools including Grenoble Ecole de Management, EMLYON and the University of St Gallen. The schools have teaching expertise in and links to industries such as biotech, electronics and both nuclear and clean energy.

And, of course, one of the great attractions of spending a year in Europe is the opportunity to experience the European lifestyle. From hiking in the Swiss Alps, to food in Italy and partying in Barcelona, no one comes away from a European MBA feeling that it wasn’t a priceless life experience.

Business schools provide intensive language classes both before the start of the programme and throughout the year and you’re likely to graduate fluent in at least two languages – another major bonus!

Article by Kyomi Wade at

More information on studying for your MBA abroad.